Due to under buying and overworking trailers in 2008-2010, carriers find themselves all searching to renew their trailers at the same time, which has resulted in a higher demand than manufacturers can easily supply. This means that fleets require prudence in purchasing, and that’s led to common trends in the market. In speaking to Canadian trailer dealers, these are said trends:
Obviously the prices of all trailers are up, both new and old. Used trailers, if in good condition, are selling at a premium; owners would generally rather hang onto their trailers at this juncture. One can buy a used trailer, but only at top dollar and after a search. New trailers may save money, if one has the patience for the possible backlog. Buying Canadian is generally cheaper due to the exchange rate between the US and Canada; many trailer parts are bought American and affect costs, but labor is cheaper and brings savings to customers.
The trends in what to buy are all about specs. Fuel efficiency is king, and therefore customers are looking at factors such as aerodynamics, weight, versatility, and brakes.
Aerodynamics bring the utility of side skirts, tails, and undertrays. The tails that are currently most popular are the ATDynamics Trident model; as for side skirts, undertrays are starting to push them out of the attention spotlight. They don’t run the risk of damage by catching the ground, and they’re tucked out of the way from the bay area, which side skirts block. Every type of fleet is paying more attention to aerodynamics than they have in the past.
As far as weight goes, it’s all about the size of the tire and using aluminum. Speaking of tires, keeping them properly inflated, thereby not running as much the risk of running a flat. Tire inflation systems have improved enough that keeping tires properly inflated is not nearly as much a problem as it has been in the past.
The final spec consideration are breaks, and disc breaks are in the spotlight. They have greater stopping power and less maintenance, although they tend to be far more expensive. Whether or not disc breaks are worth the cost over drum breaks depends on the application of the trailer; however, many carriers are finding disc breaks to be worth the investment.